Mohamed Ibrahim Warsame[a] (1943 – 18 August 2022), known by the pseudonym Hadrawi,[b] was a Somali poet, philosopher and songwriter. Having written many notable protest works, Hadrawi has been likened by some to Shakespeare,[2] and his poetry has been translated into various languages.[3][4]

Hadrawi in 2018
Hadrawi in 2018
Native name
  • Hadraawi (Somali)
  • هدراوى (Arabic)
BornMohamed Ibrahim Warsame
1943 (1943)
Burao, Togdheer, British Somaliland
Died (aged 79)
Hargeisa, Somaliland
Resting placeHargeisa
Pen nameHadrawi
  • Poet
  • author
  • songwriter
  • philosopher
Alma materSomali National University
SubjectPatriotism, love, faith, mortality
Notable works
  • Siinley Qoraa : Sayid Cali Barre
  • Tawaawac
  • Isa Sudhan
  • Sirta Nolosha
  • Hooya la'aanta
Notable awardsPrince Claus Award (2012)

Biography Edit

Hadrawi was born in Burao, situated in the Togdheer region of Somaliland, then part of British Somaliland. Hadrawi hails from the Ahmed Farah sub-division of the Habr Je'lo Isaaq. His family consisted of one girl and eight boys. In 1953, at the age of nine, he went to live with an uncle in the Yemeni port city of Aden. There Warsame began attending a local school, where he received the nickname "Hadrawi" (Abu Hadra), a pseudonym by which he is now popularly known. In 1963, he became a primary school teacher.

Return to The Somali Republic Edit

After British Somaliland gained independence on 26 June 1960 and then formed a union with the Italian Somalia (who gained independence on 1 July 1960), Hadrawi relocated from Aden to Mogadishu, the newly formed Somali Republic’s capital, and began working for Radio Mogadiscio. In Mogadishu, he both attended and later taught at the Lafoole University (Afgooye). He also worked for the government's Department of Information.

In addition to love lyrics, he was a powerful commentator on the political situation and critic of the then military regime in Mogadishu (former Italian Somalia section) who allegedly oppressed the former portion of British Somaliland. Imprisoned between 1973 and 1978.[3]

In 1973, Hadrawi wrote the poem Siinley and the play Tawaawac ('Lament'), both of which were critical of the military government that was then in power. For this dissent, he was subsequently arrested and imprisoned in Qansax Dheere until April 1978.

Somali National Movement Edit

Following his release from prison in 1978, Hadrawi became the director of the arts division of the Academy of Science, Arts, and Literature in The Somali Republic. when he joined the opposition Somali National Movement (to liberate the former British Somaliland section from the dictatorship and oppression from the Somali Republic who targeted the Isaaq clan which Hadrawi was a part of), based in Ethiopia. He was a very powerful voice in the ensuing years of the "Isaaq Genocide", war and the repressive military regime on the Isaaq people of Somaliland , and continues to be a very important poet commenting on the predicament the Somali speaking people’s face.[3]

Hadrawi relocated to United Kingdom in 1991 after the liberation of (fr British ) Somaliland and revocation of the union between fr. British Somaliland and fr. Italian Somalia. With Somaliland (Fr. British Somaliland going back to its original borders of 26 June 1960). During this period, he traveled frequently throughout Europe and North America to participate in folklore and poetry festivals.

In 1999, Hadrawi returned once more to his native Somaliland, this time settling in Hargeisa. The following year, the mayor of Chicago invited him to participate in the latter city's Millennium Festival.

Hadrawi later lived in Burao, and reportedly made a (hajj) pilgrimage to Mecca.

Death Edit

Hadrawi died in Hargeisa , Somali on 18 August 2022, at the age of 79.[5][6]

Contributions to popular music Edit

Besides volumes of poems and dozens of plays, Hadrawi participated in numerous collaborations with popular vocal artists. His lyrical corpus includes:

  • "Baladweyn" – song performed by Hasan Adan Samatar in 1974
  • "Saxarlaay ha Fududaan" – sung by Mohamed Mooge Liibaan
  • "Jacayl Dhiig ma Lagu Qoraa?" – sung by Magool, and later translated by Hanna Barket as "Is Love Written in Blood?" or "Do You Write Love in Blood?". Another translation of the song by the British linguist and Somali Studies doyen Martin Orwin is "Has Love Been Blood-written?".[7]

Awards Edit

In 2012, Hadraawi was awarded the Prince Claus Award for his contributions to peace through poetry.[8]

Works Edit

  • Hooya la'anta ('Motherlessness')
  • Beled Wayn
  • Hablaha geeska
  • Gudgude
  • Siinley
  • Sirta nolosha
  • Tawaawac
  • Aqoon iyo afgarad
  • Deeley
  • Hawaale warran
  • Bulshooy

All the translations are by Poetry Translation Centre

See also Edit

Notes Edit

  1. ^ Somali: Maxamed Ibraahim Warsame, Arabic: محمد ابراهيم ورسمي
  2. ^ Somali: Hadraawi, Arabic: هدراوى

References Edit

  1. ^ Harper, Mary. "Hadraawi: The Somalilander poet whose readings were like rock concerts". Retrieved 7 September 2022.
  2. ^ Ditmars, Hadani (30 September 1994). "Somali Shakespeare". The Independent. Archived from the original on 5 December 2013. Retrieved 26 August 2013.
  3. ^ a b c McConnell, Tristan (12 February 2010). "Inside Somalia: Where poetry is revered". GlobalPost. Retrieved 17 September 2012.
  4. ^ "Hadraawi: The Somali Shakespeare – The Documentary Podcast". BBC World Service. 2 August 2017. Retrieved 2 March 2020.
  5. ^ "Great Somali poet Hadrawi passed away in Hargeisa". Somali Times. 18 August 2022. Retrieved 18 August 2022.
  6. ^ "Hadraawi: The Somali poet whose readings were like rock concerts". BBC News. 6 September 2022. Retrieved 13 August 2023.
  7. ^ Orwin, Martin (2001). "Maxamed Ibraahim Warsame 'Hadraawi'". Modern Poetry in Translation. London: King's College London (17). ISSN 0969-3572. Archived from the original on 3 June 2012. Retrieved 12 October 2012.
  8. ^ "Prêmio Principal Príncipe Claus 2012 para cooperativa editorial argentina Eloísa Cartonera" [2012 Prince Claus Main Award for Argentine Publishing Cooperative Eloísa Cartonera]. PR Newswire (in Portuguese). Amsterdam. 6 September 2012. Retrieved 27 October 2012.

General references Edit

Further reading Edit

  • Xasan, Maxamed Baashe X. (2004). Hal Ka Haleel: Sooyaalka Hadraawi iyo Suugaantiisa [Presence of Mind: Biography of Hadraawi and His Literature] (in Somali). London: Bashe Publications. ISBN 9780995753334. OCLC 62124821.
  • Warsame, Maxamed Ibraahin; Jama, Jama Musse (2013). Maxamed Ibraahin Warsame 'Hadraawi': The Man and the Poet. Pisa, Italy: Ponte Invisibile. ISBN 9780995753334. OCLC 1077606703.

External links Edit